Rumors of my demise as a blogger are untrue. I have however, been on somewhat of a sabbatical. The two culprits behind the sabbatical are 1) The usual suspect – Life and 2) the new kid in town – My Kindle. E-reader.
First let’s address Life—I’ve still got two jobs, although since one is as a state employee (EMS clinical coordinator at a state hospital) that one has been tenuous through the recent and still on-going state budget process with its threat of massive layoffs of state employees, although things are looking better on that front as the state employee unions move (hopefully) toward ratifying a concession agreement that includes a no layoffs for 4 years pledge. I have also been busy with my triathlon training and my three year old. Both of these activities make me feel at the extremes of young and old. I continue to improve as a triathlete – I am ever so slowly gaining confidence and losing some fear of cycling. But I am finding I need longer to recover and have some days when the knees are creaking and when I run – at least at the start like I am running quite like an old man. As for my daughter, we laugh and play and have many fun father daughter days, but partially when we are at the play ground and she is running in and out and under the playground maze, I find it hard to keep up.
We just returned from a week in Jamaica where we went to the funeral for her great grandfather. He was in his 90’s and was found under the mango tree. Not a bad way to go out. Since he was somewhat of a patriarch in the family, the tribe returned to Jamaica from scatter corners of the earth. My daughter met many cousins she did not know she had. In Jamaica they have a tradition called the Dead Yard. After someone dies, they are put on ice, and then for days their house remains open for parties to honor the person’s “duppy” or spirit.
Only after sufficient music has been played, dances done, food and beverage consumed, is the duppy considered appeased, and is able to leave the yard. The person is then buried in the earth under cement. We spent several nights at the dead yard, and ate our share of goat’s head soup, ox tail, and jerk chicken. We stayed with Uncle Bill in his house and ate fruit off the trees, drank Red Stripe Light, and went to the beach. All in all, it was a nice break from the normal life.
Now for the real reason I haven’t been blogging and how I plan to rectify it. Many, many years ago when I was a boy, I remember watching an “I Love Lucy Episode where Ricky Riccardo talks about this chauffeur he met and how the chauffer was a very smart man. The chauffer had chosen the life of a chauffer so he could read. He lived a simple life, but was able to make enough money to send his daughter to college. He was an exceptionally educated man able to converse on any topic, and who’s every day was filled with his love for reading. I admired that and it stuck with me, and I will say is probably one of the formative stories behind why I ended up staying in EMS. Because in this EMS life, besides the benefits of exciting calls and helping people, you can read and study and pursue your interests all while working on the clock.
So anyway, I bought a Kindle several months back and life has not been the same. The Kindle is so convenient and so easy to read that I am reading constantly, at home and on the job. System status management- no problem, sit on the street corner and read the Kindle. Picking up a transfer and the patient won’t be ready for another twenty minutes, no problem, whip out the Kindle. Triage line a little long today, out comes the Kindle. I have read nearly 30 books in the last five months, many of them excellent.
Here are a few I recommend to EMS folks:
1. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer – a fascinating book about different kinds of cancer and evolving treatments.
2. The Warmth of Other Suns – The story of the black migration from the South to the North from the 1920s-1970s. Many of the patients I deal with came from the South during this time and it gave me new insight into their lives.
3. Blink – A book by Malcolm Gladwell about how we often make up our minds based of what we see in the blink of an eye.
4. Stiff – A Hysterical and fascinating look at the lives of corpses from those used as crash test dummies to those who get dissected.
So instead of blogging I have been reading. What am I going to do about it? I have decided to bring my tiny notebook computer to work and to dedicate myself to writing blog posts when I am sitting on the street corner. I can read at home and in the triage line, and can read when my posts are done, but with no time to write at home, if I am going to blog, it must be now. So here I sit with laptop on my lap.
Writing and being a paramedic have always been important to me, and I do not want to let either slip. My modest goal will be at least two posts a week. I do have a store of stories saved up and hopefully will be them down and posted. I am also hoping to finish my long put off rewrite of some EMS fiction pieces, which I hope to publish.